Saturday, April 25, 2009

Unfit To Testify in Court

Britney Spears has escaped testifying in her ongoing battle to win permanent restraining orders against three of her former companions -- a judge has declared she is not fit to take the stand.

Britney's father, Jamie Spears, who has been appointed conservator of her estate, took to the courts earlier this year in a bid to extend protective orders against former manager Sam Lutfi, lawyer Jon Eardley, and ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib.

A Los Angeles judge granted the restraining order against Ghalib, which will be in place for three years.

But Lutfi and Eardley are contesting the case in court, with Eardley filing papers demanding the singer testify at the hearing.

Eardley, the attorney Spears allegedly hired to fight her conservatorship case in 2008, argued that if the singer is well enough to perform a major tour, she should be able to attend court and give evidence.

But Eardley's request has been denied by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Akiva Bobb, who upheld a previous ruling that states Spears isn't mentally fit to make her own legal decisions.

The judge told the court, "There was a finding of a judge of the Superior Court that she lacks the capacity to testify."

Full Article and Source:
Spears Ruled 'Unfit' To Testify in Court

See also:
Lawyer Says Ward Can Testify

Guardianship / Conservatorship Report

In January 2009, a study group report entitled Report of the Guardianship and Conservatorship Study Group was published by the State Court Administrator’s Office to make recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature on various issues, including the rights of protected persons and the powers and duties of guardians and conservators.

Among the report’s recommendations were to educate family members, interested persons, and guardians on the duties, responsibilities, and limitations of guardians.

Report of the Guardianship and Conservatorship Study Group

Elder Abuse Alert

An elder abuse alert has gone out to all area adult and senior centers warning of a possible financial scam targeting local seniors.

The scheme was first reported about a month ago, originating from the Willows SeniorNet Learning Center in San Jose. According to a news release, two members reported receiving calls from someone claiming to be a representative from the center and asking about financial assets and resources.

The center was notified, and the case has been referred to police. Meanwhile, the Campbell Adult Center has been on alert and warning members about the scam.

Kathy Whitcomb, senior services supervisor at the center" "The purpose of putting it in our newsletter is to educate those who get our newsletter that we in Campbell are not doing that. We just want to let them know that we at the Campbell Adult Center are not involved with this whatsoever." Whitcomb said she knows of no incidents specific to the Campbell Adult Center, but advised that residents call police immediately if they receive any suspicious phone calls.

Campbell Police Capt. Dave Carmichael said there are a number of versions of the scam going around, but they usually have a common theme.

Anyone receiving a suspicious phone call or letter is advised to call Campbell police dispatch at 408-866-2101 or the San Jose Police Department's 311 hotline.

Full Article and Source:
Elder abuse alert goes out in local newsletter, with a scam warning

Sons Challenge Will

The sons of the late Thomas J. Clifford have challenged the will filed in Grand Forks County District Court on behalf of the former UND president and asked for formal probate proceedings.

District Judge Karen Braaten has ordered a hearing June 11 on the petition.

Stephen and Thomas Clifford Jr., sons of the late president and his first wife, Florence, say in their petition that they do not know “whether the document purported to be a will … and submitted for informal probate was validly executed” by their father.

They also suggest “that circumstances surrounding the death of the decedent and the actions and statements made by the appointed personal representative, Gayle Clifford, raise the issue of the validity of the document purported to be a will.”

Full Article and Source:
Tom Clifford's sons challenge will

"Squeal Rule" Clarified

The day after the Kentucky Supreme Court announced it had approved the first major changes in lawyer ethics rules in 20 years, the Administrative Office of the Courts said some of the changes were incorrectly described in a document released to news outlets and posted on the court's Web site.

One of the errors was in the wording of a new rule that requires lawyers to report the misconduct of other attorneys and judges.

As enacted by the court, the so-called "squeal rule" says an attorney "who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects" must report it to the Kentucky Bar Association.

The high court did not, however, adopt a rule that would have allowed lawyers to report confidential information to prevent clients from committing fraud.

And it did not include in its new rules commentary saying it is professional misconduct to manifest by "words or conduct" bias based on race, sex, sexual preference and other grounds.

Full Article and Source:
Office of courts clarifies new rules on lawyer ethics

See also:
Lawyers Must Report Misconduct

Friday, April 24, 2009

Attorney Bernardini and Judge Munger

See also:
Bernardini & Munger

Puppets Imitate Life

A Grandchild's Fight

Couple Wants Bail Lowered

Attorneys representing the married couple accused of stealing more than $750,000 in inheritance money from three children in their care are asking a West Valley Superior Court judge to lower the couple's bail.

Richard and Yvonne Reyes are jailed in lieu of $1.4 million bail on charges that they depleted the inheritance money over an 18-month period starting in September 2006.

The couple was granted temporary guardianship of three children whose parents died in a murder-suicide in June 2006.

On Wednesday, Yvonne Reyes' defense attorney urged Judge Elia V. Pirozzi to lower bail from $1.4 million to $100,000.

Full Article and Source:
RC couple seeks bail reduction in inheritance theft case

See also:
Attorneys Detail Case


I felt like a failure.

I felt like I let my husband down.

It made me feel that there was something wrong with me --that I am not good enough to care for him.

They took away all my rights and freedom.

No marriage. No pride. No hope. No future.

There are days I feel like giving up and stopping the fight.

But I keep in mind if I were to do that, my husband would have no-one.

I am drained emotionally.

I cannot stay focused on my job.

I am forgetful on simple tasks.

I never used to be this way.

Ordered to Pay Restitution

A woman pleaded guilty to stealing the $30,000 death benefit paid to her uncle following the death of his wife.

While friends and co-workers of the victim have suspicions that much more money was stolen by the niece over the years, police say they were only able to prove she took the $30,000.

The police determined that between April 1, 2007, and July 31, 2007, Lisa Viola used cash withdrawals, ATM transactions, phone transactions and overdraft protection to access Alfred Viola's savings account and convert the funds to her personal use through her checking account.

Lisa Marie Viola was sentenced to seven years probation as part of the plea agreement and ordered to pay restitution of $24,099 to Guardian Services of Pennsylvania.

Full Article and Source:
Woman pleads guilty to stealing from uncle

"Inadequate Guardianship"

Did a Westchester mother go too far when she kicked her kids to the curb and drove away?

Madlyn Primoff is accused of kicking her fighting daughters out of her car and driving off.

She allegedly circled the block a few times, lost sight of the 10- and 12-year-olds, but then drove to her multi-million dollar home in Scarsdale.

According to the police report, the 10-year-old was emotional as she described her mom demanding both youths exit the vehicle when they wouldn't stop fighting. The 12-year-old was found walking home. A good Samaritan took the distraught 10-year-old to an ice cream store and called police.

Primoff spent Sunday night in the White Plains lock-up, then made bail on Monday, right after a judge hit her with a restraining order restricting her contact with her own children.

Police said the mother exhibited "inadequate guardianship" as her 10-year old wandered White Plains alone for 40 minutes.

Full Article and Source:
Mom Arrested After Kicking Bickering Kids To Curb

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Professional Guardian and a POA

A man suffering from dementia in a St. Louis Park nursing home gave power of attorney to a stranger - and no one told his wife

Last spring, Eileen Nelson moved her husband of 30 years into a nursing home. His longstanding brain injury and other health problems were making him so sick that she could no longer care for him. She didn't realize until a few months later how much she was giving up.

Though Nelson had taken precautions by getting her husband's power of attorney, he was free to sign over the same power to someone else -- in this case, a professional guardian he met at Texas Terrace Care Center in St. Louis Park. Nelson lost control of her husband's affairs and had to go to court to win it back.

By then, the woman given power of attorney, Lisa Brown had spent Scott Nelson's savings, paying $25,000 in nursing home charges, buying him a $12,000 prepaid funeral and paying herself $1,012.

Through this ordeal, Nelson learned something about Minnesota law -- a person, even one of diminished capacity, can grant signature powers to as many others as he or she wants. Although the Legislature is considering tightening restrictions on court-appointed guardians and conservators, those proposed reforms would not restrict professionals given powers of attorney.

Brown's attorney, Charles Singer, said the expenses were justified because they were part of a conventional depletion of assets to qualify Scott Nelson for state-funded health insurance. Eileen Nelson had failed to do that, resulting in a large nursing home bill and delaying her husband's move to a group home, so the nursing home and Scott Nelson himself asked Brown to step in.

Singer: "If you want to look at a story here, look at a story about a spouse that wasn't competent, and a professional was called in to clean up her mess."

But Scott Nelson, diagnosed with a brain injury and dementia, was the incompetent one, in no condition to sign away his affairs to a stranger, his wife said. A Hennepin County probate referee agreed, declaring Scott Nelson in February to be an "incapacitated person" and making his wife the legal guardian.

While reasonable people can disagree about the best care for a nursing home resident, in one important sense "every darned thing [Brown] did was wrong" because she didn't respect the husband-wife relationship, said David Jacobs, Eileen Nelson's attorney. "It's a husband that got taken over here."

Full Article and Source:
Power of attorney, yet powerless

Grandparents Lose Guardianship

When the Department of Children's Services took Alena from her mother for neglect, her grandparents jumped in. John and Cindy Moffit took her from DCS custody at 8 months, put her in her own carefully decorated room and loved her.

"Then the circus began," said John Moffit.

Alena's mother sued to regain custody, as did a woman named Terri Rivera. Rivera isn't a blood relative but claimed to have taken care of Alena before the Moffits stepped in.

Rivera had been arrested in 1999 for hiring a hit man to kill her then-husband for $500. When the hit man didn't follow through, Rivera confessed to putting black widow spiders in her husband's bed. She was charged with attempted murder for the spiders. She pleaded down to aggravated assault and solicitation to commit murder and was put on 12 years probation, which was violated in 2003 for marijuana.

The Moffits figured this was a simple case and decided to represent themselves. Surely, they thought, the court would not give Alena to a non-blood relative with such a criminal record.

So the Moffits representing themselves made a critical legal mistake in their pleadings. Opposing attorneys demanded they be removed from the case. Forced by law, the judge dismissed the Moffits' attempt to win permanent guardianship.

The judge was left to rule between the DCS-judged unfit mother and Rivera. The grandparents had no rights and no case.

Rivera won permanent guardianship.

Full Article and Source:
Grandparents Fight To Regain Custody Of Child - 2-Year-Old Given To Woman Charged With Attempted Murder

Guardianship Made Me

Made me feel 'hopeless and helpless' to protect my child from abuse and stop his pain and suffering.

Made me feel anger and contempt for the Judicial System.

Made me an outspoken Advocate and allowed me to set aside my fears and to push forward.

Made me realize that whatever work we do whether in groups or individually, it has some effect as long as we keep the 'goals' in mind:

Reform so others do not have to suffer as we did/do.

Lawyers Must Report Misconduct

The Kentucky Supreme Court made it mandatory for lawyers to report the misconduct of other attorneys and judges, as part of its first major revision in lawyer ethics rules in 20 years.

In unanimously approving what is known as the "squeal rule," the court reversed the state bar association's board of governors, which in June 2007 narrowly voted against the mandatory reporting rule.

The rule says “who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects “ shall report it to the Kentucky Bar Association.

The ethics rules, which go into effect July 15, also require reporting of such misconduct by judges.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyers must report misconduct, court says

Husband/Wife Bilk Elderly

Monroe County Court Judge John J. Connell ordered Ralph Taliento to spend 16 weekends in County Jail for Taliento's guilty plea to second-degree grand larceny. Before the sentencing, Taliento handed over a check for $6,500 to reimburse the woman for money he personally stole.

Taliento, and his wife, Lynn M. Taliento were charged in the theft of $750,000 from Shirley Gatti. Lynn Taliento pleaded guilty and was ordered to prison for two to six years in January.

Her husband pleaded guilty to helping his wife steal more than $50,000, but was responsible for repaying only the money for which he had signed IOUs.

Lynn Taliento admitted taking the money from Gatti under false pretenses, including claims that her sick child needed medical care and medication.

Full Article and Source:
Chili man to serve weekends for helping wife, R-H teacher, bilk elderly woman of $750,000

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Crime Pass

A formal complaint alleging judicial misconduct against Judge Nancy F. Alley of Florida's Eighteenth Circuit Court (407-665-4330) has been filed with Florida's judiciary in an attempt to stop pre-crime immunity before this newest practice of criminal protection becomes commonplace in our federal, state and local judicial systems. Prosecutors acquire crucial testimony in return for granting post-crime immunity. Judges may now acquire undefined consideration in return for granting pre-crime immunity. As judges begin granting such passes to commit crime, our reliance upon laws and prosecutors to protect society and deter illegal activity will vanish.

Excerpt from complaint:
In this order Judge Alley grants; “REBECCA FIERLE, the Plenary Guardian of the Property and Person of the Ward, is hereby absolved of all liability and responsibility for not attempting to preserve the alleged intentions or estate plan of the Ward, except that records of the accounts at liquidation be maintained for potential distribution should any remain at death.” (underlined for emphasis)

An Executive Pardon is the common practice of excusing ones conduct after breaking a law and after court conviction. Judge Alley’s unrecognized and unprecedented Order creates a new road for illegal activity by granting (pre-crime) permission to break a law in the first place, thereby making pre-emptive immunity and pardons unnecessary.

Crime Pass - Florida Judge Grants Permission To Commit Crime

Rebecca Fierle is registered with Center For Guardianship Certification - an allied foundation of the National Guardianship Association

Guardian: "We're Not Caregivers"

Donald Taylor is under the guardianship of Legal Services of Northern Michigan. State law requires that guardians meet with their clients at least once every three months. Director Kenneth Penokie said his employees visit every other month. He would not specifically discuss Taylor's case, citing privacy laws.

Penokie: "We're not caregivers, we're decision-makers. We're fully familiar with the patients medical condition."

Taylor was admitted to Munson Medical Center late on April 7, but Louise Muma didn't find out until the next day. That, she said, was her first concern.

Muma's worries escalated as soon as she arrived at the hospital: Her father had "extreme" pressure ulcers, known as bedsores, that stretched across his pelvic area.

Her father, Donald Taylor, was a resident at Tendercare Health Center-Birchwood nursing home, 2950 LaFranier Road in Traverse City, when he was admitted to Munson.

Muma wants to know how he ended up in that condition.

Birchwood was investigated by state nursing home regulators and fined a total of almost $38,000 in 2007 and 2008 for a series of violations, including patient assaults, falls and bedsores.

State inspectors also discovered reports of physical and sexual assault among residents going back as far as 2006.

A department report indicated that Birchwood staff failed to report the incidents to the state, or protect the residents in their care.

Kim Kloeckner, Birchwood's administrator, would not comment on Taylor's condition or Muma's conversations with Birchwood employees. Staff at Extendicare Health Services Inc. of Milwaukee, which owns Birchwood, also would not comment.

Full Article and Source:
Resident develops 'extreme' bedsores

See also:
Suit Filed Against Extendicare

Lawsuit Thrown Out

When Grandma Goes to Court

Lawyers should never ask a Mississippi grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer.

In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know me?'

She responded, 'Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.'

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?'

She again replied, 'Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.'

The defense attorney nearly died.

The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said,

"If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair."

When Grandma Goes to Court

$4M Theft From Estates

Attorney J. Edward Moyler Jr. has surrendered his law license after admitting that he took more than $4 million from clients’ estates.

Moyler, who had practiced law in Franklin for 54 years, disclosed in Southampton County Circuit Court that he took money from four clients while acting as executor of their wills.

The bulk of the money was taken from the estate of Lucille K. Steinhardt, who died in October 2000.

Judge Designate William C. Andrews III entered judgments against Moyler, including one for $4,072,363.76 to the Steinhardt estate. Three other judgments were issued as well — one for the estate of Mallory Kenneth Brown for $103,000, another for Robert E. Pretlow Jr. for $55,559.87 and $17,347.33 for the estate of Issac Buster Rudolph Teachy.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer admits to $4M theft

Legislators Raising Court Fees

The state's budget crisis is about to hit Floridians where it really hurts: their wallets.

Facing an unprecedented economic crisis, legislators are proposing to balance the state's $65 billion budget with hefty fees that will touch almost everyone. Rates will rise on anyone who drives a car, visits a state park or produces household garbage, as well as on some of life's least appealing prospects: foreclosure, divorce and death.

Court fees
More than $300 million could be raised through a new "graduated" court-fee system, which would charge wealthier residents more.

Death tax: Both chambers propose a new $20 fee for recording burial rights. People reserving a grace space, underground crypt, mausoleum and the like would be required to register the purchase with the county clerk and submit a $20 payment. (Revenue: indeterminate)

Probate cases: Filing fees would rise for probate cases, which involve taking guardianship of someone who is elderly or disabled or settling the estate of a deceased person. The current $280 charge would rise on a sliding scale. For cases involving estates valued at $50,000 to $250,000, the filing fee would increase to $1,000; for estates of $250,000 to $1million, the fee would increase to $2,000; for estates of $1million or more, the fee would increase to $5,000. (Revenue: $63.5 million)

Full Article and Source:
Florida legislators propose fees that would hit your wallet hard

See also:
FL Senate - House 5117: Relating to Court Finances

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Conservators and Lawyers Line Up

I find it very interesting that the county has stepped in to take temporary conservatorship of Phoebe Hearst Cooke’s estate to protect her from the wolves and scammers, but I wonder who will be protecting her from the county’s conservators and all the lawyers who will be lined up, always eager to help an old lady in distress.

Who's on her side?

See also:
Tentative Ruling to Seal Records

Conservatorship Filing System Online

On Wednesday, people learned how to use the court's new on-line accounting system for conservators, people appointed by the court to make financial decisions for their elderly relatives or other vulnerable people.

Ramsey County officials say the new online conservatorship system tracks assets, expenses and files annual reports.

Through electronic auditing, the program alerts the court to anything that doesn't seem quite right. A forensic auditor also takes inventory.

Dean Maus with Ramsey County Probate Court: "We're looking at the conservator and what they've been doing over the years, how they've been handling the money and not just looking for fraud but helping the conservator if there are some accounting issues they need to deal with."

Full Article and Source:
High-tech Ramsey Co. tracking system helps elderly protect finances

Is Britney Over-Medicated?

Britney Spears is said to be ‘convinced’ that her father Jamie Spears is giving her an increased dosage of her anti-anxiety drugs.

The singer was placed under her fathers control following her very public breakdown which saw Brit famously shaving off her blonde locks.

Jamie, who has so far seemed to be doing a great job as Spears’ conservator has allegedly been increasing Britney’s dosage of the drugs Valium and Ativan in fear the singer may go off the rails again.

Full Article and Source:
Britney 'Drugged' By Father?

See also:
Lawyer Says Ward Can Testify

Lutfi Files Suit

Conservatorship is "Officially Made Permanent"

Judge Tells Lawyers to Sue Each Other

Plaintiff's lawyers embattled over who gets to represent a deceased man's estate were told by a local judge to sue each other in order to sort out the mess.

Judge Bob Wortham, Jefferson County 58th District Court, made the recommendation during an April 9 hearing over one of the lawyer's motion for a continuance in a controversial probate case.

The hearing was part of legal proceedings surrounding the estate of Emery Bowie, who died Aug. 9, 2007, without leaving a will. Aside from probate issues, family members are at odds over different contracts that have been signed with various attorneys.

Since his death, Bowie's family and their lawyers have been warring over the estate and quarrelling over who is entitled to receive the bulk of possible proceeds from a recent wrongful death lawsuit filed in Jefferson County.

Full Article and Source:
Judge tells squabbling plaintiff's lawyers to sue each other, allows complex probate case to continue

Attorney Speaks Out

"The present system of electing probate judges should be abolished ... The selection, retention and promotion of judges should be based upon merit and not primarily on political factors or seniority. The need for separate probate courts has not been demonstrated. The Circuit Court [should] be consolidated into a new court of general trial jurisdiction to also include the Superior Court, the Court of Common Pleas, the Probate Court and the Juvenile Court."

These recommendations were among the calls for action in the First Citizens Conference on the Connecticut Courts, adopted in May 1971 and sponsored by the American Judicial Society. The 750 attendees were broadly representative of the state's citizens. After the conference, they created the Connecticut Citizens for Judicial Modernization and spent the next 15 years supporting efforts to effectuate their recommendations.

When the General Assembly was considering the creation of a unified trial court in 1978, however, the sponsors cautioned that the merger should exclude the probate court because of the political power of the probate judges and their allies in the legislature, which might result in defeat of the legislation.

This resulted in the merger of all the trial courts except for the probate court; the establishment of a Judicial Selection Commission to screen candidates for judicial appointment, except judges of the probate court; establishment of a Judicial Review Commission to review complaints as to judges, except judges of the probate court; and consolidation of administrative and financial functions, except those of the probate court.

There are 117 probate courts staffed by a probate judge and clerks. The court's income comes from fees for filing documents and conducting hearings. A small amount is received from the state for matters relating to indigents.

In 2006, 56 probate judges received more than $50,000, 11 judges received more than $100,000 and 11 judges received a minimum of $20,000. All received health insurance and retirement benefits. With rare exception, the probate judges are part-time, and they are free to have other employment.

Some part-time judges have an active probate court practice that brings them before fellow judges. Judges appoint lawyers to serve as guardians, conservators, etc., and they are paid by the people involved or estates. Ethical issues have been reported.

Since 1978, studies have recommended restructuring or abolition of the probate court. But there has been little significant change aside from increasing the power of the probate court administrator, increasing fees and requiring more filings. Efforts to adopt the Uniform Probate Code, which would reduce the required filings by at least 50 percent, as well as the costs of probate, have been resisted — presumably because this would decrease the money needed to provide the salaries and benefits for the judges and their staffs.

•Peter L. Costas is a lawyer in Hartford. He was one of the managers of the First Citizens Conference on the Connecticut Courts and a legal adviser to the Connecticut Citizens for Judicial Modernization.

Full Article and Source:
Probate: Last Bastion Of Patronage

More information:
Only in Connecticut: Is real probate reform 'too much, too soon?

See also:
Non-Lawyer Judges Fight Reform

Will Reform Finally Happen?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nursing Home Ratings Not Accurate

"Ratings don’t function well to explain abuse"

The Oklahoman founder of a national watchdog group for nursing homes called state and national governments to action to change how substantiated abuse cases are cited and how they influence the rating of nursing homes on the federal Web site.

Because families of nursing home residents rely heavily on this rating system, the information there needs to be accurate and complete, he said. Otherwise, the whole system should be taken away.

During a town hall meeting, Wes Bledsoe asked the audience members what they would like to know about a nursing home if they were searching for one for a loved one. They all agreed they would want to know if there has been mistreatment or any kind of abuse.

He went through numerous Minnesota Department of Health reports. Many showed there was substantiated abuse. But because the facilities self reported the incidents and implemented a plan of correction before the state health department arrived, they were not cited any deficiencies.

In fact, more than 80 percent of the cases where abuse was substantiated in Minnesota over the last four years, there were not any deficiencies cited.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing home crusader calls for change

See also:
Nursing Home Ratings

EA Advocate Holds Meeting

Community Outrage

Guardian Evicting Hero

A mother and children are facing eviction in a dispute with the family of a woman whose life their daughter saved.

Missy Kowalski, who suffers from a heart defect, crawled through a window to rescue her 84-year-old landlady who spent 15 hours lying on the floor after a fall.

Missy's mother Deb Gordils has always paid the rent on time but relatives of landlady Kathleen Slattery, who died on Saturday, want the family to move and sent an eviction notice March 13.

Slattery's niece and legal guardian is Mary Siwak.

In probate court, Siwak's attorney told a judge that Gordils has been telling "anyone who would listen" that Siwak and a caregiver are responsible for the death of Slattery by over-medicating the woman.

An agreement to allow the family to remain in the apartment until June 1 has been reached.

Girl who saved landlady faces eviction

More information:
Gordils said Slattery once told her "that she wasn't happy with other people making decisions, and she mentioned to me that she felt she was being over-drugged. I advised her to talk to her doctor. That's all."
Landlord's family evicting hero

Mixed Emotions

I cry.

It is like I lost a part of me I can no longer find.

I am often sad.

I think back to everything I have been forced to go through unnecessarily, and question, how I have been able to endure it.

I feel angry.

I do not know what to do at the time, or if things would have turned out differently if I had been able to do more, or done less.

I feel frustrated.

Unless I am actively “getting back” by spreading the word, like a little child, telling people that I am hurting, and pointing my finger to those who have done it!

I get nasty or sarcastic.

I try or tell people about what happened to my mother and they look away uninterested or question the veracity of what I am saying.

I find myself saying that they will think of me when it happens to them;

but it will be too late.

Trial to Determine Guardianship

A trial to determine guardianship of the sons of a missing Northland mother will be held July 31, a Clay County judge ordered today.

Linda Lockwood, the mother of Renee Pernice, is seeking guardianship of her missing daughter’s children.

In a previous court filing, Lockwood contended that the father of her grandchildren, Shon Pernice, was unfit to be a parent and unable to care for the children.

Lockwood and her husband, Douglas Lockwood, made the filing in March. She noted in the petition that her daughter has been missing since early January and that the Clay County prosecutor has said there is substantial evidence she is dead.

Full Article and Source:
Trial date set in Pernice guardianship case

More information:
Hearing Held About Custody For Pernice Boys

Trial date set for custody battle involving missing Kansas City mother's children

See also:
Grandmother Seeking Guardianship

Slashing $75M From Programs

Lawmakers are slashing $75 million from programs for the elderly - including two aimed at keeping seniors out of nursing homes, which cost about 10 times more than home care.

The elderly are among the casualties of a $6 billion spending gap forcing lawmakers to slash programs and services, raise taxes and fees and drain trust funds.

Also on the chopping block:

$16 million in mental health and substance abuse programs that could leave 28,000 without help.

More than $4 million from $10 million in spending on intervention programs to keep at-risk children in their homes.

The House budget also cuts $7 million and 154 positions from the guardian ad litem program that represents abused and neglected children in court.

12.5 million to house delinquent children while the House maintains that funding.

Despite nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus money to increase Medicaid payments, the Senate used that money to pay for other programs and replaced it with about $900 million in a $1-a-pack cigarette tax that hasn't even had a hearing in the House.

The House did not give any money to a program to help foster children prepare for living on their own; the Senate includes just $500,000.

Full Article and Source:
Florida lawmakers slash $75 million from programs for the elderly

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What caused Dennis Long to snap?

For two weeks in late March and early April, a 49-year-old man named Dennis Long repeatedly called and tried to convince Riverfront Times to write an investigative story about his sisters. He claimed they were conspiring to keep him from seeing their mother, who was afflicted with Alzheimer's and lived at St. Sophia Health & Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home.

He continued to phone several times a day. When his calls weren't picked up, he left panicked messages, pleading for a call back.

On Wednesday, April 1, the calls to the paper stopped. On Friday Long was all over the local news.

He stole a Mercedes-Benz, doused himself in gasoline, lit a match and crashed the car through the front door of St. Sophia, injuring one resident and causing minor fire and structural damage to the building. He was taken to the burn unit at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, where doctors used drugs to induce a coma.

Over the weekend on April 3, police discovered that before the crash, Long took a hammer and nearly beat to death a 51-year-old woman named Joyce McGill. The owner of the wrecked Mercedes, McGill was a friend who had taken in Long and given him a place to live.

Long was his mother's legal guardian for several years. The pair lived together in a home in south city. Long was unemployed. He had HIV, so he received a disability check. Combined with his mother's social security, it was enough to live on. In 2007 Charlene Jones, Long's eldest sister, sued for guardianship of their mother and won when Long didn't show up for the court hearing.

Whenever he called, Long spoke of nothing but how desperately he wanted to see his mother. He kept a running tally of how long it had been since he had seen her. His last report was that it had been 115 days.

"I know this is not right. My sisters playing politics and telling lies. I got like five sisters — all of them was involved in setting me up and trying to take my mom from me and everything. They all in it together. They like criminals."

Full Article and Source:
Diary of a Mad Man: Dennis Long tried unsuccessfully to interest Riverfront Times in his story. Then he went out and made news

Charm, Lies and Threats

Three people used charm, lies and threats to persuade an elderly woman to give them more than $100,000 before they were arrested, according to Buffalo police.

Possibly as far back as 2002, the three became acquainted with the victim and came up with a variety of reasons why she needed to give them thousands of dollars at a time from her bank account.

Their hard-luck tales turned to threats of violence if the flow of money stopped, and the scheme ended only after Erie County Adult Protective Services alerted police.

Mary Weeden, Regina Weeden, and Belton Bruce face charges of grand larceny, conspiracy and aggravated harassment.

Full Article and Source:
Three accused of extorting $100,000 from elderly woman

Woman Gets Prison

A woman who stole from her 75-year-old Alzheimer's Disease-afflicted mother was sentenced to prison.

Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia sentenced Danette E. Duffy to six and a half years in prison for the offense of financial exploitation of the elderly. The maximum sentence possible was 15 years in prison. Duffy could leave prison in less than three years.

Duffy's husband, Dennis P. Duffy, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to 48 months of probation. He spent 116 days in custody after he and his wife were arrested. Danette Duffy had been free on bond.

Danette Duffy had power of attorney over her mother, and with her husband, stole about $134,640 between December 2005 and July 2008.

Full Article and Source:
UPDATE: Woman gets prison for ripping off mom

More information:
UPDATE: Wife's sentencing put off in rip off case

Woman sent to prison for bilking mom of $135,000


I was one of the primary caregivers for my Grandmother.

I deeply resent all the time I had to spend fighting for her when I could have spent that time just being with her.

Guardianship victims are robbed of so much more than money.

Protect, Detect, Report

"Elder Financial Abuse: The Crime of the 21st Century" will be the opening address at a Hawaii Anti-Fraud Conference April 25 at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Mary Twomey, co-director of the Center of Excellence in Elder Abuse and Neglect, University of California, Irvine, will be the guest speaker.

The state Executive Office on Aging and Senior Medicare Patrol Hawaii are sponsoring the event, "Protect, Detect, Report," with the City and County of Honolulu's Elderly Affairs Division.

The conference, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., will focus on exploitation of seniors in fraudulent health care and financial schemes.

The registration deadline is April 20. The cost is $10 for seniors age 60 and older and $30 for non-seniors. The fee includes a continental breakfast, late-morning snack and conference materials.

Program and registration information is available at the Executive Office on Aging, 586-0100.

Full Article and Source:
Conference to focus on financial abuse of seniors